By Nicole Hennessy
Westlake, like every other city, wants to be sure it’s offering competitive wages, thus attracting the most qualified employees possible.
That’s why, at a Dec. 18 special council meeting, council members reviewed data detailing the city’s wage structure and averages in terms of how it compares with other cities.
It’s no surprise that, for the most part, Westlake, an affluent West Side suburb, is on the high end of the scale in terms of wages.
Reviewing the information, the council members, doubting this warranted a special meeting and sharing their opinions on the matter with Mayor Dennis Clough, went on to address the attorney who prepared the data, each hinting toward the fact that they wanted more than just numbers and realizing that this would come at an additional cost.
Council President Michael F. Kileen said he appreciated the data, but wished for more meaningful “insight or wisdom” that could be imparted to council.
“Based on what we’re doing, are people being fairly compensated?” he later asked.
At the meeting he pointed out that this question could not be answered by just knowing the wages attached to similar positions in similar cities. Instead, benefits and extras, such as free cars, must be factored in to paint a full picture. To obtain this information, some council members suggested the inclusion of W-2 forms from other cities in the data.
The follow-up to Kileen’s question regarding fair compensation is whether or not the city is getting a good deal while providing its employees with competitive wages.
Mayor Clough and the other council members agreed to discuss the matter further at that week’s regular council meeting, but that didn’t happen.
Clough said nobody brought the topic up.
However, the council did agree on a 3 percent increase in wages for all of the city’s directors.
Kileen said after the first of the year, the city will begin compiling more data, hoping to better understand how Westlake compares with other cities to which they could lose employees and how to better prepare for salary negotiations with police and fire personnel.